|Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) shakes hands with Prime Minister and chairman of the United Russia party Dmitry Medvedev during the parliamentary elections in Moscow on Sunday. — AFP/VNA Photo|Viet Nam News
MOSCOW – Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Monday hailed a vote for "stability" after his ruling party won a record number of seats at parliamentary polls amid a low turnout.
The Kremlin’s United Russia scooped three quarters of the seats in the 450-member State Duma after bolstering its tally to over 54 per cent at a nationwide vote Sunday, securing a majority despite the longest economic crisis of Putin’s 16-year rule.
But the vote had the lowest turnout for a parliamentary election in Russia’s post-Soviet history.
"For United Russia this was a good result," Putin told his government on Monday.
"Given the current difficulties, the large amount of uncertainty and risks, people undoubtedly chose stability."
Putin’s approval rating remains around 80 per cent. Although he has not yet announced he is running, the strongman leader now looks set to stroll to victory in presidential elections in 2018.
’Vote for Putin’
Pro-Putin parties were always expected to cruise to victory given the Kremlin’s almost complete dominance of the media – but the scale of United Russia’s majority took some observers by surprise.
"It’s obvious that the overwhelming majority of those who voted de-facto voiced support for the president," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Three other parties – which made up the last parliament and all back the Kremlin – were the only ones to clear the five-per cent threshold needed for representation.
The Communists and the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party both won just over 13 per cent, while A Just Russia received around six per cent.
No genuine opposition candidate appeared to have made it into the Duma for its new five-year term. – AFP